Tim Johnson: When the cat’s away, the mice will play

Tim Johnson • Updated Apr 13, 2018 at 7:00 PM

My home sits surrounded by farmers’ fields. Living in this environment is conducive to having a problem with mice, especially around harvest time. As the crops leave the areas, the food supply for the field mice is taken away, and they scamper to the nearby buildings in search of food.

Because of this, we got a cat. I am not a cat person; I am a dog guy. However, we have only had one dog that caught mice. Therefore, we have almost always had a cat in the house, as well.

Our current cat is nearly a year old, and he is a mouse assassin – along with birds and wild rabbits. Watson, the cat, came into our home as a kitten. At about 10 weeks old, the killer cat went on a rampage. He killed four mice in three days, and I have not seen a mouse or any evidence of mice since. 

There is an old saying, “When the cat is away, the mice will play.” This saying is true. In the time periods we have been without a cat, harvest time or not, we have had a mouse problem.

People are a lot like mice. At least, when it comes to when authority is absent, wild things happen. A sixth-grade classroom, when the teacher exits for more than five minutes or any day a substitute is there, college spring break and people showing up late for work when they know the boss is on vacation are a few examples. 

This problem has existed down through history. Judges 17:6 says, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

During operation Iraqi Freedom from March 2003 through August 2010, there were 3,490 Americans killed in action. As of this writing, there have been 3,850 people killed by guns in America during 2018. This number does not include suicides. Take a look at those numbers. In slightly more than three months, there have been 360 more people killed in America than American soldiers killed in six and a half years of war. 

You may wonder what my cat and mouse illustration and the verse in Judges have to do with comparing gun violence with the horrors of war. Think of the passage again. With no king, the people did what was right in their own eyes. When there is a lack of authority, whether it’s in the classroom, the home, society or wherever, there is chaos. What may be right for one person may be wrong to another. An example is there must be at least 3,850 people who think it is OK to kill someone.

Before anyone reads too much into this, I am not calling for martial law or a government crackdown designed to take away our freedoms. I am attempting to point out that many in our nation do not acknowledge the ultimate authority, which is God.

Consider the following conversation between a mom and a 10-year-old.

“Betty, why did you take your sister’s candy bar?”

“Because I wanted it.”

“It is wrong to steal.”

“Who says?”

Mom, at this point, can claim many who say it is wrong to steal. Mom says it is wrong to steal. Daddy says it is a bad thing to take something that is not yours. The law says it is illegal to rob someone. What Betty is actually asking is, “By whose authority am I not allowed to take my sister’s candy bar?”

Mom, dad and the police would all be correct answers, but all of them receive their authority from God (Romans 13:1). Since America has taken God out of the classroom, the home, government, society, and in some cases, the church, we are closer to being a Godless nation than ever before. We are a nation with no ultimate authority; therefore, as it says in Judges, the people will do that which is right in their own eyes. 

Since God is life, there will be no respect for life without Him.

Since God is the truth, without Him, there is no absolute truth. 

Since God is the giver of morals – remember Betty and thou shalt not steal – there are no morals without Him.

America declared its independence by proclaiming inalienable rights – by definition, rights only given to us by God. Since God is the giver of rights are there any rights without Him?

Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Email him at [email protected] Sermons and archived Preacher’s Points may be found at preacherspoint.wordpress.com.


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